DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate: Atlantis, or any of its characters. I'm making no money from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for Passion & Perfection's Big 5000.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for Season 4.

Unexpected Phantoms
By Jaina


"I have a bad feeling about this."

"Would you stop quoting Star Wars, McKay?"

"Don't give him a hard time, Sheppard," Ronon objected from the back of the group. "I wouldn't mind having one of those light-sword things. It'd stop a Wraith dead, for sure."

John stopped marching through the densely wooded forest. "How many times do I have to tell you that Star Wars is not real? Dudes prancing around with glowing swords," He muttered. "Not even remotely realistic..."

From her position in the middle of the group Teyla rolled her eyes. One of the last packages through the gate from Earth had contained six DVDs of Star Wars movies. This conversation had been going on for the last two weeks. She, for one, was tired of hearing about the boys' new obsession.

"What do you have a bad feeling about, McKay?" Teyla brought the conversation back around to its beginning. It was usually annoying to listen to McKay's long litany of complaints and definitely not worth it to ask what was bothering him, but at this point, as long as his woes didn't include Star Wars, she wouldn't mind.

"This!" McKay held up the bioscanner. Even from several feet away, Teyla could see the tight grouping of dots that indicated a large group of beings.

"I thought this planet was supposed to be unoccupied."

"It was!" McKay responded indignantly. "All of our information indicated that. That's why I said I had a bad feeling about this!"

John groaned. "Let me guess - these uninvited guests are between us and the gate."

"Yeah..." McKay's voice had lost some of its beginnings of hysteria and now seemed resigned.

"Great," Ronon spoke up from the back. He pulled his weapon from its holster and waved them forwards. "Let's go face this before they manage to ambush us."

John nodded. "Somehow I don't think we're lucky enough for us to get through this without them spotting us."

The all too familiar screaming sound of a Wraith Dart ship in flight passed over head.

"No," Teyla said with resignation matching Rodney's, "I do not think so either."

They moved out quickly, carefully staying in formation as they worked their way through the woods and back towards the Stargate. A strangely large clearing - an open swath a hundred yards long - was unavoidable. They'd noted it on their way through, but hadn't realized what a large problem it would be presenting on their way back.

They were halfway across the clearing when a group of four Wraith appeared between them and the edge of the clearing that they were heading towards.

"Go, go, go," John shouted, laying down cover fire as the team broke into a run across the clearing, heading for the opposite edge and the relative cover of the woods.

McKay was out front, scrambling as quickly as he could. Teyla had a frozen moment of horror as another Wraith loomed out of the trees almost directly in front of Rodney. She raised her rifle and fired, holding down the trigger as bullets ripped into the Wraith. More and more Wraith popped out of the tree line and Teyla realized that this was not going to end well.

With a desperate glance back at her teammates she saw Rodney down on the ground, and John and Ronon surrounded and barely keeping the Wraith back. She turned back to the small group of Wraith charging her. She dropped the leading two Wraith with precision shots to the center of their forehead.

Her finger squeezed the trigger for a third shot and clicked. Her gun was empty. Her stomach clenched at the realization, but she didn't let her moment of fear slow down her reaction time. She swung the butt of the rifle into the face of the nearest Wraith. He fell to the ground with a satisfying thud, but she didn't have time to watch. Two Wraith lunged for her. She dodged the first and took a swipe at the second with the business end of her rifle.

He jerked back, just in time for her to swing past him without connecting. The force of her momentum threw her slightly off balance. Teyla tried to roll with it, regaining her balance and coming up swinging. Instead a powerful kick from a Wraith caught her in the stomach, sending her to the ground.

They were on her without hesitation. A moment later everything went black.

Teyla woke alone. The cell was primitive. She lay on the ground, not moving. Her eyes scanned what little she could see of the cell. Rough hewn stone walls were in front of her, with a thin layer of dirt flooring beneath her. The scant light that filtered into the room came from behind her where she could only assume the cell's entrance lay.

She remained still for a moment longer. Experimentally, she flexed muscles in her arms, legs, feet and hands just enough to check the extent of her injuries. Except for a few bruises and aches, she seemed to be fine.

It was time for her to sit up. There was no point in concealing her return to consciousness from the guards any longer.

Slowly, carefully, she half-turned and raised herself to a sitting position. To her surprise no one stood watch over the entrance way. She examined for a moment. There was nothing obvious blocking the entrance, no metal door or clear glass cage that acted the same. It was far more likely that she was being held in by a force field but it would be ridiculous for her to not even check.

Stranger things had happened in her time with the Atlantis team.

Teyla rose, taking only a moment to steady herself on the stone wall, before she walked towards the entrance way. She reached a hand out towards it, but never made contact. A large shudder ran through the building. It was violent enough to send her to her knees, but only lasted for a moment. Teyla recognized the sound and feel of a large, distant explosion.

She pushed herself quickly to her feet. She had no way of knowing how long she'd been unconscious and there was every chance that the explosion had been caused by the Atlantis team coming to rescue her. The way that she'd last seen them flashed through her mind, but she dismissed the idea that they were dead almost as soon as she remembered it. They had survived worse. Surely they had survived this as well.

Either way she couldn't allow an opportunity like this to pass her. She staggered towards the door, her balance still not quite right, and stuck her hand through the doorway. To her slight surprise, not even a tiny flicker of energy stopped her, her hand passing through easily. She followed suit immediately, almost tumbling out into the hallway in her relief to be free.

Taking quick inventory of what the Wraith hadn't stripped off of her, Teyla came up with nothing but the minimal body armor that the SG teams normally wore. It was an asset, but not one that would particularly help her kill her enemies and escape. She would simply have to find another method for doing that.

With a quick glance around her surroundings, Teyla picked a direction and began jogging her way down a corridor. Not knowing her way around the complex, this was the best she could do. Anything was better than staying in one place and waiting for the Wraith to come back.

Less than a meter in front of her a wall exploded inwards, throwing Teyla several feet back, sending her skidding into the far wall. She regained her feet groggily as she was enveloped by noise.

Shouts of rage, grunts of fighting and the sounds of weapons discharge were suddenly there all around her. Wraith were running towards her from the end of the corridor beyond the explosion. Through the smoke and rubble that the explosion had caused it took Teyla a moment longer to realize that the beings pouring through the gap were not in fact Wraith. Worse, they were Replicators.

Teyla was frozen for an instant before the Replicators began to attack the Wraith. It was destruction like nothing she'd ever seen - not even when the Wraith had spent years attacking her home world.

She grabbed a fallen Wraith stunner and turned to run while the Replicators and Wraith were still occupied with one another. She didn't particularly care who won this skirmish, but she was happy to take advantage of their distraction with one another to let her escape.

She rounded the corner that she'd come around only moments before at a run and immediately slammed into something solid.

For the third time in minutes, Teyla found herself knocked back on her butt. She brought her stunner up to bear quickly, and found herself staring into an all too familiar face.

With dread and a hint of hope, she asked, "Elizabeth?"

The woman - Replicator, she forced herself to use the correct term - standing in front of her, tilted her head slightly and looked at her with the distant, measuring look that she'd seen so frequently on Elizabeth's face.

"Come with me."

Teyla didn't move. As much as this being looked like Elizabeth, all it took was one glance at the distinctive uniform that she wore to remind her that this was not the same woman that she'd known.

"No." Teyla spoke firmly, but she was aware that she didn't have many options. The sounds of the fighting from the direction that she'd come was growing louder not farther away and there was no way she'd be able to get past Elizabeth from her position.

"Teyla," Her voice was calm and steady. The Athosian recognized it as the tone Elizabeth used when she was trying to calmly negotiate when the situation was rapidly degrading. "You must come with me, now. If you do not, the Wraith will recapture you and they will kill you, right after they strip you of all the information that you have about Atlantis and its location." Elizabeth paused and took a deep breath. "I'm your only chance."

Teyla only had an instant to make her decision. She hadn't gone with John and Rodney on the final mission with Elizabeth, but she'd heard how Elizabeth had fought against the Replicators; held them off long enough for her people to escape. If there was anyone that she would ever believe would have a chance to withstand the Replicators and resist their influence, it would be Elizabeth Weir. And now she had to make that leap of faith and stake her trust in this woman for a second time.

Teyla lowered the stunner and pushed herself to her feet. Elizabeth nodded, but didn't make a move towards her, threatening or otherwise.

"Thank you," Elizabeth seemed genuinely relieved. "This way." She gestured down the corridor and took off at a jog.

Teyla kept up with her easily. Twice they stopped as Elizabeth got a distant look on her face. She would step back, or quickly push Teyla into a hiding space just before several Replicators ran past them. Each time Teyla held her breath, waiting for something to happen, waiting for Elizabeth to alert them to her presence, waiting to die, but nothing happened. They kept moving.

Elizabeth caught Teyla's elbow and pulled her over against the wall.

"Through those doors is a hangar. It's entirely empty except for one Wraith dart ship. All you have to do is make it to the gate, and you can safely get back to the city. You'll have to watch out for the Wraith, but I'll ensure that the Replicators leave you alone until you're through the gate."

"You are...not coming with me," Teyla said, stepping back and cocking her head, worried for the first time. She hadn't had time to think about what this would mean. About having Elizabeth back or how far she can really trust her.

"I can't," Elizabeth said simply. "Not yet."

Teyla's hands dropped to her hips and for the first time she forgot the hint of fear that she'd been feeling since she ran into Elizabeth. She stalked forwards defiantly. "And why not?"

"Because I'm not sure," Elizabeth said bluntly. "How much of me is left. I don't know how human I am, and I don't want to know where to find Atlantis until I know that. I don't want to be a threat to the very people I care about the most and I'm doing good work here fighting against the Wraith."

"It is not enough," Teyla countered, "And it is not an acceptable substitute for having you with us."

Elizabeth shook her head. "You can't change my mind about this, Teyla."

"Oh?" Teyla gave into impulse. One hand curled around Elizabeth's stiff neck and pulled her head down. She met her lips, kissing her with fierce passion until it left them both breathless. She let go of Elizabeth and stepped back, her chest heaving.

"I can't come back." Elizabeth's voice wavered, but underneath it, Teyla could still hear her steely resolve. "But you've given me something to come back for."

Teyla blinked. It was more than she'd expected really. No one, not even she, could change Elizabeth's mind when the fate of her people was at stake. She could certainly understand that.

"Go." Elizabeth was pleading with her now. "Go, while you still have a chance."

Teyla nodded. "Thank you," She said softly. "You will come back to me."

Elizabeth couldn't speak, but nodded. "I will."

Teyla ran for the dart ship. A tear silently fell down her cheek as she flew for the gate. She jumped through multiple gates, before she returned to Atlantis to ensure that she wasn't followed. Hours past and her tears dried. Through all the debriefings that she was sure would come, she would hold that moment with her.

One day Elizabeth Weir would come home. Elizabeth had never broken her word to her and she wouldn't start now.

The End

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